Hectic Holidays

Tday Dinner

This week is Thanksgiving here in the US.  My boys are out of school for the week and it is family time. Too often these weeks for school holidays are hectic and hazardous to our relationships.  So this week I am going a bit quiet on the internet in order to enjoy the time with my family and friends, plus all the accompanying visits.

I’ll still be crocheting when we are all sitting around visiting, and there might be the occasional tweet to update. But I won’t be spending much time on Facebook, Ravelry or even my blog.

I have so much to be Thankful this year. Not the least I am thankful for all those in our community and further afield that have helped out as all those affected by the September floods here in Colorado work to get back to some sort of “normal”. In particular our amazing volunteer firefighters who sprang into action in the midst of the crisis and got so many to safe shelter.

I am thankful that my house was untouched by the devastation, though our lives have been impacted by the aftermath.  I’m so glad that so few in our community were loss, though the losses suffered will be a permanent part of all our lives forward.

I am thankful for all the friends that have reached out during the past 2 months, and all the wonderful friends that are always in my life. Not sure how I have been so fortunate to have so many in my heart and life, but they are everyday blessings that make my life richer.

I hope you all have a wonderful week, and in particular some lovely time spent with your family and friends during the holiday. I’ll be back later next week. Wishing everyone a Happy Thanksgiving.

A Wedding to Celebrate

Tomorrow my very dear friend T’s daughter is getting married. I have known this young woman for most of her life. T and I met when her daughter was only 18 months old. I’ve been privileged to be a part of her and her younger sister ‘s lives as a sort of honorary aunt. So at the wedding I am very likely to be a bit tearful.

All 3 designs M2H photo

This wedding has been, like many weddings, in the planning for awhile. And with weddings on the brain, I was pleased that my bridal thread designs for Red Heart are all available on their website now.

There is my “Bride’s Garter” pattern. This garter is embellished with a layered and beaded flower, similar to the flower on my “Flowered Wedding Favor Box“.  And the lace pattern of the garter is a double sided version of the lace edging on my “Something Blue Hanky”.

If there is a wedding in your circle coming up soon, these are some lovely designs to crochet for the bride. And remember you don’t have to stick to the traditional colors. Aunt Lydia’s Size #10 Classic Crochet Thread comes in over 50 different colors.

Time to polish my dancing shoes in preparation of a happy evening of celebrating. And make sure that I have lots of tissues on hand for the tearful moments.

Getting Together to Crochet!

My favorite thing about discovering the online world of crocheters has been that it has helped me find real life crocheters (and knitters) to hang out with and share our enthusiasm for all things fiber and yarn.

Today I’ll be making the drive down the mountain to hang out for a few hours with fellow crocheters at the Longmont Yarn Shoppe from 10:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. It’s a great place to meet, wonderful natural lighting, beautiful yarn and even a shop dog.

This past weekend I braved the wind and snow on my mountain to drive all the way to Denver to spend Saturday evening with my yarnie friends at the Lambshoppe on 12th Street. We had a great time laughing, eating chocolate, admiring each other’s yarn and fiber.  Sue let us see the gorgeous cashmere fiber she is spinning into yummy yarn (so soft).

Plain n Fancy Yarn

I purchased this yarn that is destined to become either a snuggly sweater or wrap for me. I want something to keep me warm this winter. I keep promising myself that I’m going to crochet something beautiful just for me, so getting this yarn is a good start.

The drive back from Denver that night wasn’t too bad until I got up on the mountain. Then I had a few exciting moments with blowing snow that would temporarily obscure the roadway. Fortunately, I am a very experienced mountain driver. A few times I stopped to let the snow clear away and then continued on, I also slow down so I don’t come round a curve in the road and find myself in trouble.

It is clearly winter up here on the mountain now so getting out to meet up with my yarnie friends could be a bit more of an adventure, but I have good tires. And what’s life without some adventures?

Little Bumpy Bag

Photo courtesy of Red Heart Yarns
Photo courtesy of Red Heart Yarns

This fun little baglet pattern I designed for Red Heart Yarns is now available as a free pattern on their website.

When I was first coming up with this design I had my own clutzy tendencies in mind. I tend to get distracted and set things down in a spot where they get bumped or knocked onto the floor. So I wanted to use a stitch that would create a fairly “cushy” fabric.

This little squished cluster stitch was ideal. Using a single crochet st on either side of it gives the mini “popcorn” look. It reminds me a bit of the doilies my grandmother had on the kitchen table with bunches of grapes decorating them.

I also used a smaller size hook than I normally do, because I wanted a denser fabric. The fabric is still elastic enough to fit snugly around the phone, but it maintains the “cushion” effect with the tighter stitch work. So if you are substituting yarns, remember to adjust your hook size to get a firm fabric.

Note 2 baglet

I liked how this little bag came out so much that I decided to make a slightly larger version in Red Heart’s Boutique “Unforgettable” for my phone (minus the strap). If you need a larger version of the bag for your phone, just add chain stitches to the beginning foundation in groups of 2 until you reach the width you want your baglet to be. To fit my Samsung Galaxy Note 2 phone I made my foundation chain 30 and worked 5 extra rows on each side.

Thread version

A smaller version works great for a business card case. I made the example above in Aunt Lydia’s Size #3 Cotton Crochet Thread using a size E-4/3.5mm hook for the foundation chain and a D-3/3.25mm hook for the baglet. I followed the same instructions for the original baglet just leaving off the chain handle.

You could even make the original baglet in the size it is written for and use it to hold a gift card this holiday season. The baglet is the gift wrap and part of the gift.

I hope you enjoy making this fun little project as much as I did designing it.

What’s This?!

One of the fun things about being a designer, is sometimes you get surprises in the mail. Such was the case for me this past Wednesday, when I checked my mail that afternoon there was a package for me.

Of course, I ended up giving a lift to a neighbor, so the box got moved to the back seat of the car and I forgot about it. The next morning I drove my boys to school and when I was unloading them from the car I noticed the box. “I wonder what is in there” went thru my mind as I walked the boys into school. Once I was back home I grabbed the box and headed up the stairs into the house to open it.

Brown Paper Box2

The wrapping for the package was a bit banged up from it’s journey to reach me. Since the flood mess in September all our mail is being forwarded, so items sent to my Jamestown PO Box take a little longer to reach me. As you can see there were bits of black and red showing, which made me very curious.

Black Box

This was the box inside the brown paper.

Yarn in the Box

And this is what was inside the black box.

I’ve already worked with all of these yarns a bit, but I am excited about these colors. Especially the Red Sassy Lace. I can see something very fun for Valentine’s Day out of that.

Scan of Red Heart Brochure
Scan of Red Heart Brochure

I scanned the yarn information from that long card so you can see what a gorgeous variety of colors are available in each of these yarn lines. Click on the image to see it larger, or check out these yarns and the other new yarns for 2013 on the Red Heart website.

One of the easiest projects to make up with all of these yarns is a ruffled scarf. You can see them everywhere. If you haven’t tried making a scarf like those yet, Mikey from the Crochet Crowd has a great video showing a super easy way to crochet one with Sashay yarn (Mikey also has videos of how to crochet a scarf with the Sassy Fabric and Sassy Lace). I really like his technique for this as it gives lots of ruffles.

Only thing I would do different to how Mikey shows you is to start my ruffles a little further in from the beginning to leave a tail, then weave the beginning tail like he shows you to weave your ending tail. Just cause I am fussy about raw edges in my work.

With the holidays rapidly approaching these yarns would be great to work up gifts with, or make a snazzy scarf or pin for yourself to dress up your holiday outfits.

Front or Back?

Back when I first began to sew and crochet my mother and grandmother were my tutors. One thing that was always emphasized was that your work should be finished nicely. The back (or wrong side) of projects needed to look just as nice as the front. I have always tried to continue in this tradition with my work, sewing neatly and tidying up all ends of thread and yarn at the completion of a project.

Photo courtesy of  Crochet World/Annie's Publishing
Photo courtesy of Crochet World/Annie’s Publishing

This year I found this habit to be rather a minus instead of a plus, when my “Greek Squares Afghan” was photographed for the August 2013 issue of Crochet World. If you look at the photograph above you wouldn’t notice, unless you knew, that it was photographed from the wrong side. So my take is now that it is a reversible afghan.

Greek Squares Afghan

If you are wondering what the afghan looks like from the “right” side the above photo shows you. The crocheted joining (in brown) is supposed to create ridges that emphasize the multicolored blocks.

This is a surprisingly speedy project to work up. The afghan is made with 25 rectangles that are then crocheted together. All worked in bulky weight yarn so progress is quick for a generous sized afghan. Could even be made with only 16 blocks as a nice sized “lapghan” or child sized blanket. Each block is approximately 8 x 5″ and are easy to carry with you to work on individually.

My friend and “secret weapon” Val actually crocheted up all the blocks for the sample and I did all the joining and tail weaving. When I got the sample back from Crochet World I spent an afternoon snuggled up in it crocheting in my design office. It is super cuddly.

CW Mag Aug Cover 2

If you are wanting to make this afghan you may not be able to find the August issue on newsstands any longer.  You can get back-issues or subscribe to the digital version of Crochet World at their website. A digital subscription gives you access to 2 year’s of digital back issues as well as the current issue.

Ruffled Rose Pin

So November is zipping along already and that means big holidays just around the corner. I’ve been preparing for our Thanksgiving, ordering our turkey and coordinating with family members for getting together.

Thanksgiving is the usual starting gun for me for my Christmas panic. Suddenly it’s time for Holiday parties, school programs, and family coming to visit. This year Thanksgiving is falling a bit later in the month, so I am trying to get myself motivated early.

Photo courtesy of Red Heart Yarns
Photo courtesy of Red Heart Yarns

I was very excited to be reminded of a design I created for Red Heart Yarns: Ruffled Rose Pin. This fun little pin takes about 4 yards of smooth worsted weight yarn (sample used Red Heart Soft Yarn), and 15 yards of Red Heart’s Boutique “Sassy Fabric” yarn. You can get 2 pins out of one skein of the Sassy Fabric, and it comes in 9 different styles/colors.

Lace Rose

You could even substitute their “Sassy Lace” that comes in 7 different colors.

Back of Ruffle Circle

Working with a “yarn” like these is a bit different. I’m always fussing at the raw end of the fabric strip, I like my projects to look tidy and neat when I finish. I discovered some nifty tricks as I developed this design, I hid the ends inside the backing.

Finished Pin Back

As you can see in the above photo the back of the pin looks as nice as the front (my grandmother would be so proud of me).

Even with the finishing work on the back of the pin, this is a quick little project, perfect for a last-minute gift. It took me about 30 minutes from start to finish to make the Lace version of my Ruffled Rose Pin. Granted, I am a very speedy crocheter, but even someone working at half my speed can finish a couple of these in an evening.

Edited to add: You can find the pattern at RedHeart.com in their Free Patterns.

Unforgettable Granny Fans

Fiery Tree

It is fall and the trees down in town have been putting on a show with colorful leaves. I couldn’t resist taking some photos this week when I was off my mountain.

Leaves on Ground

With Fall adding a chilly nip to the air (and the snow we have had up here on my mountain) I’m definitely feeling the holiday season just around the corner.

MainlyCrochet Photo
Photo courtesy of MainlyCrochet.com

Which is why I’m so excited to share my design the “Granny Fans Scarf”

It is available thru the MainlyCrochet.com website. If you haven’t had a chance to check out MainlyCrochet.com you will be delighted with all the wonderful patterns you can have access to for a small annual subscription fee.

Photo of Granny Fans Scarf

This is a really fun to stitch scarf that I designed especially to work well with color changing yarns like the lovely “Unforgettable” from the Red Heart Boutique line. The finished scarf looks like painstaking color changes were worked and all those lovely little tails were tidied away. Instead the yarn does all the heavy lifting and you get the accolades.

This is a super fast project to work up for a holiday gift. You can make it as the scarf length in the pattern. Or work fewer “fans”, add a button and you have a lovely neck cozy.

Just be warned though. This is a rather addictive project to crochet. I found myself happily lulled along as I stitched up the sample.

Update September 30, 2015 – The pattern for this scarf is now available thru my Ravelry Shop as “Granny Fans Redux” as well as thru the MainlyCrochet.com website. You can see the pattern page on Ravelry by clicking this link, and you can read a few more details about the new version on my blog post here.